276.1[Scene 4]
Enter Manville alone, disguised.
Ah, Em, the subject of my restless thoughts,
The anvil whereupon my heart doth beat,
280Framing thy ’state to thy desert.
Full ill this life becomes thy heavenly look,
Wherein sweet love and virtue sits enthroned.
Bad world, where riches is esteemed above them both,
In whose base eyes nought else is bountiful.
285‘A miller’s daughter’, says the multitude,
‘Should not be loved of a gentleman’.
But let them breathe their souls into the air!
Yet will I still affect thee as myself,
So thou be constant in thy plighted vow.
Enter Valingford at another door, disguised.
290But here comes one. I will listen to his talk.
Manville stays, hiding himself.
Go, William Conqueror, and seek thy love,
Seek thou a minion in a foreign land,
Whilst I draw back and court my love at home.
295The miller’s daughter of fair Manchester
Hath bound my feet to this delightsome soil,
And from her eyes do dart such golden beams
That holds my heart in her subjection.
[Aside] He ruminates on my belovèd choice.
300God grant he come not to prevent my hope!
Enter Mountney, disguised, at another door.
But here’s another. Him I’ll listen to.
Nature unjust, in utterance of thy art,
To grace a peasant with a prince's fame!
305(Peasant am I, so to misterm my love.)
Although a miller’s daughter by her birth,
Yet may her beauty and her virtues well suffice
To hide the blemish of her birth in hell,
Where neither envious eyes nor thought can pierce
310But endless darkness ever smother it.
Go, William Conqueror, and seek thy love,
Whilst I draw back and court mine own the while,
Decking her body with such costly robes
As may become her beauty’s worthiness,
315That so thy labours may be laughed to scorn
And she thou seek’st in foreign regions
Be darkened and eclipsed when she arrives
By one that I have chosen nearer home.
[Aside] What, comes he too to intercept my love?
320Then hie thee, Manville, to forestall such foes.
Exit Manville.
What now, Lord Valingford, are you behind?
The king had chosen you to go with him.
So chose he you. Therefore I marvel much
That both of us should linger in this sort.
325What may the king imagine of our stay?
The king may justly think we are to blame,
But I imagined I might well be spared
And that no other man had borne my mind.
The like did I. In friendship then resolve,
330What is the cause of your unlooked-for stay?
Lord Valingford, I tell thee as a friend,
Love is the cause why I have stayed behind.
Love, my lord? Of whom?
Em, the miller’s daughter of Manchester.
335But may this be?
Why not, my lord? I hope full well you know
That love respects no difference of state,
So beauty serve to stir affection.
But this it is that makes me wonder most,
340That you and I should be of one conceit
In such a strange unlikely passion.
But is that true? My lord, I hope you do but jest.
I would I did. Then were my grief the less.
Nay, never grieve. For if the cause be such
345To join our thoughts in such a sympathy,
All envy set aside. Let us agree
To yield to either’s fortune in this choice.
Content, say I, and what so e’er befall
Shake hands, my lord, and fortune thrive at all.
[Valingford and Mountney shake hands.]